Craft beer appliance uses pouch to compete with growlers

Kate Bertrand Connolly 1, Freelance Writer

September 22, 2015

3 Min Read
Craft beer appliance uses pouch to compete with growlers
Beer in a pouch? Synek's home countertop unit dispenses the brew from a disposable pouch that has a 30-day shelf life.

Thanks to a new countertop beer dispenser designed for in-home use, craft beer enthusiasts can buy their favorite brews by the gallon and enjoy them for up to 30 days without fear of spoilage. The dispenser is from Synek, and the beverage packaging that completes the system is from Mondi.

The Synek dispenser refrigerates, pressurizes and dispenses beer, which is contained in a disposable pouch inside the device. Consumers can take the empty pouches to a brewery, pub or restaurant for filling or, if they are brewing hobbyists, they can fill the pouches with home brew.

To use a filled pouch with the Synek system, the consumer removes the pouch’s cap and connects the pouch, which includes a spout fitment, to the dispenser. The custom-engineered pouch, which holds 128 ounces of beer, was designed not only to stand up to the pressure created by beer but also to protect the beer from spoilage.

The pouch material includes three layers: a nonreactive, FDA-approved inner layer, an aluminium middle layer that acts as a barrier to oxygen and UV light, and a polymer-like outer layer for durability and strength. Synek and Mondi’s Consumer Goods Packaging business in North America worked together to develop the pouch.

Steve Young, founder of Synek, answers some questions about the dispenser and the pouch.

Who is the target consumer for the Synek system?

Young: Our target market is the craft beer lover, more specifically customers who currently buy growlers. We estimate this is about 15% of total craft beer consumers. These customers have the largest pain from the poor shelf life (about two days) that current growlers provide and are more than willing to make this a part of their normal routine. We had more than 10,000 backers before our product even launched.

Is there a handle or other feature on the pouch (or a secondary package) to make it easier to transport the filled pouch from the brewery to one’s home?

Young: We integrated a carrying handle into the packaging for easy transportation. The handle is integrated into the pouch using a modified "c cut.” There is no secondary packaging. We are working with the largest breweries to create a customer box for added convenience, durability and customized graphics.

Where is the Synek dispensing system commercially available?

Young: Synek is on the market in seven cities—St. Louis, Cincinnati, Atlanta, Miami, Tampa Bay, Durham and Charlotte—and will be rolled out to 35 more cities by October as the team travels in our custom beer RV. Synek is available for pre-order all across the world from our website.

How many venues have signed up to fill the Synek/Mondi pouches for customers? 

Young: We have approximately 2,400 breweries onboard in 72 countries, totaling more than 70,000 brands available through Synek.

How many times can the consumer refill this pouch? 

Young: For sanitary reasons, we are asking breweries not to refill Synek cartridges. Home breweries can refill up to 10 times; home brewers are rinsing the bags between every use, using standard beer cleaning chemicals. Beer becomes a petri dish if not cleaned properly, which is why our packaging is one-time use to craft breweries.

How much do the pouches cost?

Young: The cost of our bag to the breweries/customers is only $1 to $2. This is less than a fifth the comparable cost of bottles.

Do you have any plans to take this concept into retail? 

Young: First stage is making sure the 3,000 breweries in the U.S. are comfortable with filling/selling Synek. After that stage, we will roll this out to grocery and big-box retailers.

Are the pouch and the spout custom designed? Have you applied for patents? 

Young: Yes and yes.

About the Author(s)

Kate Bertrand Connolly 1

Freelance Writer

Kate Bertrand Connolly has been covering innovations, trends, and technologies in packaging, branding, and business since 1981.

Sign up for the Packaging Digest News & Insights newsletter.

You May Also Like